How to Leverage Your Career Growth

What if there was a surefire method not only to advance but to maximize, your career?

You know how when you start a new job, you’re super excited? Your brain is a sponge, and you’re just trying to soak up everything about the company, position, and industry that you can. That’s the honeymoon phase, and it lasts for six to twelve months. During this period, you’re highly engaged and gaining terrific experience.

After the honeymoon phase, you continue to gain experience and stay engaged. However, after two or three years in a role, the novelty and excitement that you once felt level off. In other words, what was once new, interesting, and challenging becomes just another Wednesday at the office. Once you hit this phase, it’s time to push for either a promotion or a new opportunity with a new company.

The graph below provides a visual of how you can maximize both your experience and your engagement by picking the best time to leave one opportunity for another. To get the most out of this method, timing is critical. Two to three years in a position is ideal. Four to five years is too long.

You might be thinking that two or three years is too often to change positions. Isn’t that the kind of “job hopping” that you’ve been warned against? You’re exactly right, this is “job-hopping”. However, if your career trajectory continues to rise, and if you’re putting yourself in a position to maximize your experience and engagement, you won’t need to explain yourself to a hiring manager. You will have made yourself so valuable that they won’t question you about much of anything. “Job hopping” or not, they will want you on their team.

So, where does your career fall on this graph? Is your career trajectory trending in the right direction?


Top 10 Career-Limiting Moves

#1 – Coming in late

Getting caught in traffic and making it into the office a few minutes late won’t doom your career. However, falling into the habit of showing up late will get noticed. This especially applies for meetings. Be on time and be prepared or you will stand out in a negative way.

#2 – Constant complaining

Life is all about overcoming challenges. You’re not the only person facing obstacles. Do you work to the best of your ability and keep any negativity out of the office.

#3 – Too many drinks at office social functions

This one seems obvious but is often overlooked. Whether it’s a company picnic or informal happy hour keep your behavior in check. Realize that you’re surrounded by co-workers and need to project professionalism.

#4 – Taking vacation to avoid work

Vacation days or PTO are part of your compensation and you’re entitled to them. You should use them as you see fit. All of that being said, taking your days or weeks off during the busy season is going to get you some negative attention. Be aware of the ebbs and flows going on in your office. Don’t take your vacation when things are hectic and leave your co-workers having to cover for you.

#5 – Never volunteering for extra work

Teamwork is the name of the game in most offices. Oftentimes co-workers will need a hand or your team has a deadline to meet. These instances often require an extra investment of time and effort. Do you pitch in when your team needs you?

#6 – Ink

This one is likely to be controversial as tattoos are very popular with younger age groups. If you like tattoos feel free to get as many as you like. Just realize that your manager may not like them as much as you do.

#7 – Dressing like a slob

This one is common sense and quite easy to avoid. Follow the simple rule of dressing for the job you want, not the one you have. This extends into grooming habits as well. Keep your appearance sharp and neat and you’ll have no problems.

#8 – All talk, no results

Offices run on teamwork, accountability, and performance. There are few things more annoying than a co-worker who talks a big game but can’t deliver. Focus on your performance and stay humble.

#9 – Interoffice romance

Office romances can be risky. When they work it’s great. However, they often don’t work out and can create significant office drama. Proceed with extreme caution.

#10 – Bad mouthing others

Businesses run most efficiently when workplaces are places of harmony. Gossip, trash talk, and cliques can destroy workplaces. Keep your opinions about others to a minimum and be friendly to everyone.

What career-limiting moves have you witnessed?


How To Quit Without Burning Bridges

There are few things more exciting and gratifying than accepting a new job. Hopefully, it’s a move that will advance your career and increase your compensation. However, before getting settled into your new home you need to resign from your current one. Quitting a job can be a daunting task to undertake but it doesn’t have to be. Follow our tips below to ensure that you leave the right way.

Give Two Weeks Notice

Work with your manager to create a plan for transitioning you out of your position. You may need to help with moving projects onto the respective plates of your co-workers. Some companies will want your assistance training others to take on some of your responsibilities. Be flexible here and do everything you can to leave your boss and team in a manageable position.

Tell Your Boss In-Person

Offer your resignation directly to your manager. This needs to be done face-to-face. Let him or her know that you’re leaving. It’s up to you if you want to provide a reason for your decision or details about your new role. Be clear and direct during your conversation. Do everything you can to keep the discussion positive.

Express Gratitude

Make it clear to your boss and co-workers how thankful you are to have been a part of the team. Focus on the positives. Be grateful for all the lessons you’ve learned and the experience you’ve gained in your soon-to-be former role.

Don’t Gossip

Don’t give your manager one reason for your departure and tell your co-workers a different reason. Stay consistent and positive. Stick to the truth and never bad mouth anyone on your way out the door.

Beware the Counteroffer

In the vast majority of cases, a counteroffer is a bad idea. The reasons for the employee’s decision to leave aren’t likely to change quickly. The additional compensation you may be offered only serves as a band-aid for the real issues at play. Plus, employers always remember your initial reason for leaving, and often resentment takes root.

Exit Interview

Many companies will put you through an exit interview. This may seem like a confidential, HR-guided process where you can give honest feedback and critiques. It’s not that, so don’t be fooled. It’s highly likely that harsh words said during the exit interview will get back to people and be perceived by some as bad-mouthing the company on your way out. Keep things light, positive, and vague during your exit interview.


A Guide to PPAI Career Resources

PromoPlacement was recently invited to spend the day at PPAI headquarters.  PPAI is a terrific organization and it was a great day. It was wonderful to meet all of the men and women who are directing our industry’s future.

“Happy to spend time with Patrick McHargue, Director of Talent at PromoPlacement. Always looking for ways to bring new talent to industry companies and help promotional professionals find the right opportunities. Thanks for making the trip from St. Louis for the visit!”

-Paul Bellantone | Chief Executive Officer of PPAI

After meeting with the professional development team at PPAI, we were very impressed with the education and career tools available through PPAI. We were so impressed that we want to remind you of all of the great PPAI career resources at your fingertips.

Resume Posting

If you’re actively seeking a new opportunity in our industry, the resume posting service provided by PPAI is a great place to start. To make the most of this resource, you simply upload your resume and complete a short form. This platform allows you to get your background onto a platform that’s well-traveled by industry hiring managers looking to add to their team.

Job Board

The PPAI job board is quite popular with industry hiring managers. Essentially, it’s the inverse of the resume posting platform. Hiring managers who are looking to fill opportunities fill out a short form and upload a job description. You can even see the date the job opening was posted so you can be sure that the opportunity is still active.

Online PPAI Education

The online education portal on is really the hidden gem of career resources. To access it, you’ll need to know your PPAI username and password. Once signed in, you’ll get access to a myriad of live and on-demand educational seminars. These seminars aren’t exclusively focused on career advancement but are an invaluable asset when looking to round out your industry know-how and expertise.

Topics covered in PPAI’s online education platform include SAGE, client development, decorating methods, supply chain, social compliance, social media best practices, and industry-specific sales practices.

If you’re looking to advance your career or searching for a new opportunity in our industry, these PPAI resources are excellent places to start your journey!


Finding Your Spark

Finding Your Spark


How are you doing today?

“Eh… so-so.”

“I’m hanging in there.”

“Not too bad.”

These common responses are symptoms of a big problem. Your fire has gone out. Maybe you never had one in the first place, but if you want to succeed, I mean really want to succeed, you MUST rekindle it. Without out it, days drag on, projects become boring, and your work and life suffer.

Starting a fire from nothing is not only daunting, it’s impossible. So, begin with something simple, a spark. A spark is the excitement that you feel when you find a great new product for a client, the rush you experience after a great meeting or the boost you get from a positive email. One spark is all it takes and sparks can be found everywhere if you know how to look for them.

You can find your spark by:

  • Having an honest chat with a successful colleague
  • Remembering why you got into the business in the first place
  • Thinking about your family and loved ones
  • Reading uplifting blogs or articles
  • Making a change in your job focus or career
  • Completing a SWOT analysis about your career and your life

Sparks can be found everywhere, but only you know where to look for yours. You have to be open to honest self-reflection. How did your fire go out and how can you rekindle that passion?

The most important thing you can do is admit that your passion and drive have petered out. This can be very tough to admit. Most of us want to truck on and work through it. That’s never the answer. Address your issue right away and immediately start searching your life for your spark. When you do find it, be sure to take better care of yourself and the fire that drives you.

7 Tips For Making Your Job Change A Breeze

For many people changing jobs can be a nightmare.

Workdays that were once filled with confidence and routine, became full of anxiety and questions. Am I the low person on the totem pole? What was my password for this CRM program I have no idea how to use? What’s that guy’s name again? How does this stupid coffee machine work?!?!?!

If you’re going to take one thing away from this post make it this: A job (or even a career!) change is nothing to be nervous about.

Use these seven tips to hit the ground running at your new job!

Act like you are still being interviewed. Don’t get too comfortable too early. You are still being evaluated. You need to continue to impress and prove yourself.

Get to know some of the team before your start date. Happy hours and company events are great for this. Spending time with soon-to-be co-workers outside of the office is less formal and you can get up to date on current projects. It’s also a great way to get some insight into the company culture.

Take notes. This one seems really obvious, but lots of people ignore it. During your onboarding, you’ll be hit with a ton of new information. Some of this will be fluff, but we advise taking notes on everything so you don’t miss the useful parts.

Volunteer for everything that you can. Community Service Committee? You need to be on it. Party Planning Committee? Yes, please. Get involved early and often. This shows that you’re in it for the long haul and increases your exposure to your co-workers, your bosses, and their bosses.

Be proactive! Don’t wait to be given an assignment or told what to do. No employer wants a drone for an employee. Stay 30 minutes late each day to work on a project that you came up with. The project may not get off the ground, but your boss will love the effort.

Be yourself. You’ve got the job already! It’s not time to slack off, but don’t act like a perfect employee robot either. Enjoy your work and have fun getting to know your co-workers.

Work your butt off!